On January 6, 2023, Louisiana’s $50 billion, 50-year 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan for restoring their disappearing coastal ecosystems and making their coastal communities more resilient was published online for public review and comment.
From over 180 submitted project concepts, 61 restoration and 12 structural resilience projects were selected for inclusion in the 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan. Additionally, the plan recommends $11.2 billion in nonstructural risk reduction investments.
Now, the fourth edition of the plan, the 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan presents a vision for preserving the state’s history, culture, ecosystems and natural resources that are threatened by ongoing land loss and flood risk.
Louisiana’s coastal master plan has driven $21.4 billion of investment in coastal protection and restoration projects since 2007, benefitting 55,807 acres of habitat (87.2 square miles), 369 miles of levee improvements, and 71.6 miles of barrier islands and headlands.
Once approved by the Louisiana Legislature, this plan becomes the guiding document for the state’s coastal activities and provides a clear path forward for billions of dollars of investment in the design, implementation, and operation of large-scale restoration and risk reduction solutions.
“Addressing Louisiana’s land loss crisis and protecting coastal communities requires the comprehensive and integrated approach that projects identified in the master plan offer,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline.
“No other state in the country has a plan like ours utilizing the best available science and engineering to preserve our coast and culture for generations to come,” he added.
Since 1932, more than 2000 square miles of Louisiana’s coast have been lost, damaging the state’s coastal ecosystems and exposing communities to greater levels of flooding. Many of the factors contributing to this loss are predicted to worsen over the next 50 years.
Projects within the 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan will restore and maintain hundreds of square miles of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands and reduce expected annual damage by up to $15 billion compared to a future without action.
The investments identified in the plan could reduce the state’s hurricane and tropical storm flood risk in 50 years to below what it experiences today.
Every master plan builds on the capabilities and advancements of previous editions to prioritize projects for implementation.
The 2023 DRAFT Coastal Master Plan aims to collaborate with federal, state, and local governments, academia, and non-governmental organization partners; and effectively engage coastal citizens and stakeholders.
WHAT’S NEW IN 2023:
- A new robust project selection process
- Improvements to predictive models
- New data incorporated into risk modeling
- Development of new risk metrics
- Regional approach with additional detail and analysis
- Expanded analyses that are accessible through an updated Master Plan Data Viewer
CPRA held two public solicitation periods for new project ideas and worked with Regional Workgroups to refine project concepts and identify areas of need that were not represented among the initial proposals.
CPRA evaluated these projects to understand their impacts over time and prioritized the suite of projects that would be most effective at restoring and maintaining coastal wetlands and reducing future damage from tropical storms and hurricanes.
Featured photo courtesy of FEMA.